A Year of Praying for Chinese Cities

Modern China is, in many ways, a land of cities. All across the country you can find skyscrapers of glass hiding ancient temples, busy roads filled with rushing taxis and delivery bikes, crowded malls packed with people, alleys lined with street food vendors serving up meat skewers or baozi or jianbing. From the snow-caked streets of the frigid northeast to the boiling heat of the south, China has urbanized at an unbelievable pace.

In the 1980’s, for example, only 20% of China’s population lived in cities. By 2018, that number had grown to 60%. Conservative estimates suggest that there are 15-20 Chinese cities with a population over 5 million, at least five of which are “megacities” (cities with a population over 10 million). When I myself lived in China, I spent two years in a “small” city of three million people!

At China Partnership, we are deeply committed to China’s cities. With thousands and thousands of people moving into cities each year, we want to see the church take root in these urban areas and be a “city on a hill” within them.

There’s something wonderful about these cities. They have grown so fast that walking through their streets gives you a feeling of newness and possibility, yet underneath it all also lies the presence of long, established history. They are special places, places that the Lord loves deeply.

At China Partnership, we are deeply committed to China’s cities. With thousands and thousands of people moving into cities each year, we want to see the church take root in these urban areas and be a “city on a hill” within them. We want these churches to be a refuge that offers the light and hope of Christ to the lost. Over the last decade, we have been blessed to see many Chinese pastors and churches lead the way in doing exactly that, planting and shepherding within cities all across China.

For those of us living outside of China, though, it can be easy to feel like we can do very little to support this vision. Most of us cannot travel there, and if we are not Chinese then it’s likely we do not know the language and culture. Even if we did, the current political climate and presence of active persecution would make it impossible for us to do any real ministry work. How, then, can we best support the endeavor of reaching China’s cities?

The answer–or, at least, one of the answers–is that we can pray. At first, this answer may seem like a cop out. But if we truly believe what the Bible teaches us about prayer, then we will recognize that prayer is an absolutely vital component of kingdom work.

If we truly believe what the Bible teaches us about prayer, then we will recognize that prayer is an absolutely vital component of kingdom work.

At China Partnership, we believe so strongly in the importance of prayer as a component of reaching China’s cities that we started a prayer ministry in 2017 devoted to praying for a different Chinese city every month. We knew we couldn’t go to China to meet with urban house church Christians face to face, but we knew we could connect with them through the Holy Spirit. We could bring close what seemed so far away.

Much has changed since those initial days of our prayer ministry. Seven years have passed. In that time, we have seen the rise of new religious regulations, resulting in the massive arrests at Early Rain Covenant Church which ushered the church in China into a new season of persecution…a season they still find themselves in. We have also seen a worldwide pandemic, and the imposition of harsh regulations in China, regulations that were only dropped in 2023. Now, the country is still reeling from the aftermath. Persecution continues to be an ever-present reality, coupled with severe economic downturn across the country.

China has changed. Its cities have changed. But the importance of prayer has not changed. Nor has our desire to help support the effort of the church in China to live in and minister to China’s cities.

As we enter a new season for our prayer ministry in 2024, we wanted to take the chance to go back to revisit many of the cities we partner with across China. We want to re-learn from them. We want to examine how they have changed. We want to hear about the challenges they face, and how God is blessing them in spite (and oftentimes, through) those challenges. Just as we did in 2017, we want to pray for them, to lift them up to the throne of the king who still reigns over China’s cities.


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China has changed. Its cities have changed. But the importance of prayer has not changed. Nor has our desire to help support the effort of the church in China to live in and minister to China’s cities.


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Would you join us in praying for cities in China this year? We would love for you to join our prayer team. There are two ways you can pray along with us in 2024:

Though China’s cities have changed, God’s love for the people in those cities has not changed. We pray that God may use his church as his incarnate witness within China’s cities, exemplifying his love and holiness, pointing people all across China to Christ. We hope you will come alongside us in this prayer in 2024.


M. Mills serves as China Partnership’s Communications Manager. He spent three years teaching English in China and lives with his wife in Chicago.

Pray for the gospel to spread through cities all across China, and that the church will be a beacon of Christ’s love and light.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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